#1365: Sunfire

SUNFIRE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The champion of Japan, the solar-powered mutant known as Sunfire considers himself a modern-day samurai — and will do nothing to betray his code of personal honor! Possessing the power to fly and to gernerate intensely hot flaming plasma, Sunfire seeks out the enemies of his nation — be they mutant or human — and turns on the heat!”

Sunfire!  Oh it’s sunfire.  I’ve reviewed a surprising number of Sunfire figures on this site.  Of the of the six available Sunfires, I’ve already looked at three.  Not a bad spread, if I do say so myself.  I’m looking at the fourth  of the six figures today.  This one’s actually his first, and unlike the last three, it’s from a slightly different source.  Let’s just get to the review already!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sunfire was released in the Mutant Genesis Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line (it was numerically, for those that are curious).  As noted, this was his very first action figure.  He stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Unlike prior Sunfire figures, which were based on his classic appearance (which is my personal favorite look), this one is based on his, at the time current, ‘90s appearance, which does not possess the same timeless feel as his other look.  It’s super ‘90s, what with the armor, the shoulder pads, and the over designing.  Also, the crap ton of muscles.  Because ‘90s, I guess.  This particular suit was design to amplify his powers and stuff.  And also look less like the Japanese flag, which I guess was a good thing.  Unfortunately, I can’t really say it’s one of the character’s better looks.  Personally, I’ve always found he looked pretty darn goofy.  This figure lives up to that goofy-ness, presenting him with impossibly muscle-y proportions, as well as the really odd and goofy pony tail he was sporting at the time.  I guess it’s an accurate sculpt, and it avoids the scrawniness of TB’s other Sunfire figure, but something feels a little off about it.  To me, this just doesn’t feel like Sunfire, but maybe I’m just picky.  At the very least, I think we can all agree that his face looks a bit silly, right?  His jawbone looks like it could conquer a thousand kingdoms.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but there it is.  His paintwork is generally decent enough.  It’s cleanly applied, and follows the design from the comics. Can’t say it’s the most exciting color scheme, but it’s fairly standard for Sunfire, so that’s good, I guess.  Sunfire included a bit of clip-on armor, which goes over his shoulders and has been vac-metalized.  It fits well enough and looks pretty cool, so that’s nice.  He’s also got a shield, which matches the other armor and can be held in his right hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve held off on this guy for a while.  This is a figure I’ve had my eye on since about the time I was 9 or 10, but never got him because, quite frankly, he just doesn’t look like Sunfire to me.  However, he was at Power Comics, and he was half-off his already low price, and I’m working on completing my Toy Biz X-Men figures, so I kind of needed him.  He’s really weird and goofy and strange, but he’s part of the set, and honestly he feels right at home.  And I can’t really ask for more.

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#1266: Sunfire

SUNFIRE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A master of solar energy, Sunfire converts solar radiation into powerful plasma outputs, perfect for scorching his enemies.”

Alright!  Sunfire, getting his action figure due!  Seriously, and Minimate and a Marvel Legend, both in less than a year?  That’s not bad for a guy who’s essentially the Pete Best of the All-New, All-Different X-Men. Believe it or not, this actually brings his total action figure count up to seven, which just goes to show that being an X-Man, even briefly, has its perks.  Let’s just look at the figure already!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sunfire is figure 6 in the Warlock Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s definitely one of the “it’s about time” figures in this set (there are quite a few of them this time around).  This is actually his second time getting the Legends treatment; Sunfire one the 2008 fan poll Hasbro ran, and was offered later that year as a Hasbro Toy Shop exclusive.  However, that figure was based on the character’s look from the Age of Apocalypse cross-over.  Not a bad design, but hardly Sunfire’s go-to.  This figure instead offers him in his classic costume, which he’s worn off and on for 47 years.  It’s definitely an eye-catching design, and, in my opinion, the only real Sunfire design.  I’m glad Hasbro agreed.  There have actually been a number of slight variations on the design over the years (the character tends to go a bit of time between appearances, and rarely is drawn by the same artist twice in a row).  This version seems to be most closely modeled on Alan Davis’s rendition of the character from around the mid-90s.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and sports 34 points of articulation.  Sunfire is built on the new base body that was debuted on ANAD Spider-Man 2099…who I haven’t yet reviewed, so I guess it’s new here!  Sizing-wise, it’s between the Pizza Spidey and Bucky Cap bodies, leaning nearer to the Bucky Cap.  He’s a bit leaner overall, but with a more solid core.  It’s actually a pretty solid choice for Sunfire, who tends to be placed on bodies that are far too skinny for him.  This one lives up to the usually stockier depictions we’ve seen of him.  He gets a new head and belt piece.  The belt sits a little funny at times, but the head is one of Hasbro’s stronger sculpts.  They actually managed to make the mask not look completely ridiculous!  Like Nova, his lower face is a separate piece from the rest of the head, which prevents that whole area from getting to be ill-defined, as can often be the case with such designs.  If you want to get really technical, Sunfire should have also gotten new arms and legs to replicate the scaly texture his costume is supposed to have.  That being said, just how present that texture should be is one of those things that changes from artist to artist, and I can see why sculpting all those new parts just for Sunfire would be a bit excessive.  He really doesn’t look that bad with just the basic pieces, so I’m not really going to complain.  As far as the paintwork, Sunfire is largely pretty solid, with one little caveat: the white on the torso.  It looks fine, but the coverage is a little off, and I’ve noticed some chipping on my figure around the joints, which is worrying.  Aside from that, the paint’s all nice and sharp; the gold in particular is a nice shade, which stands out better from the red than a lot of golds would.  Sunfire is packed with a pair of fire effect pieces (the same ones included with the last Iron Fist figure), as well as the torso of Warlock.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After finding Dazzler, I saw none of these figures for another week or so.  The Target nearest me finally got in their case of figures, but by the time I got there, the only ones they had left were this guy and Old Man Logan.  Like Dazzler, I can’t say that Sunfire was at the top of my list for this set.  With that being said, having him in hand he’s a strong contender for my favorite individual figure in the series.  He’s just a nice classic design, executed really well.  I’m very happy to have this guy after all this time waiting, and I’m glad Hasbro really put the effort into making him so cool!

#1127: Storm & Sunfire

STORM & SUNFIRE

MARVEL MINIMATES

stormsunfire1

One of the more intriguing aspects of the “All New, All Different X-Men” presented in Giant Size X-Men #1 was the diversity of the team.  This was especially poignant in comparison to the original team.  While the X-Men (and Mutants in general) were supposed to represent groups who were oppressed, shunned, and otherwise mistreated, the actual original team was made up entirely of upperclass, good-looking, and generally well-off whites, which ever so slightly hindered the message the creators were trying to put forth.  When the new team appeared with members representing cultures from all over the world, it really helped to sell the inclusiveness of the whole idea, and redefined how the team was portrayed moving forward.  Many of these new characters became some of the most memorable characters in the franchise’s history, including Storm, who I’m looking at today.  Then there’s Sunfire, who is…less memorable….

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Storm and Sunfire are part of the 68th series of Marvel Minimates, which is GSXM-themed.  Both characters are based on Dave Cockrum’s renditions of the characters from Giant Size X-Men #1, though, like with Banshee yesterday, Sunfire’s design was just a slight tweak on his design from earlier in the original run.

STORM

stormsunfire3Aside from Wolverine, Storm is easily the most memorable of the characters brought onto the team in GSXM #1 (and she’s definitely the most memorable of the characters *introduced* in GSXM #1).  To date, she’s held a prominent role in every cartoon adaptation, and had a role in five of the six movies (and she even cameoed in the sixth).  That’s important!  She’s also had 9 prior Minimates, covering most of her prominent looks, which is better than can be said for quite a few Marvel characters.  Being built on the standard Minimate base body, Storm stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Storm gets add-on pieces for her hair and cape.  Both of these pieces are new to this figure, and they look quite good.  Some figures of this storm design downplay the length of her hair, which is always a little frustrating, so I was grad to see this one doesn’t.  The basic cape included here is decent enough, if perhaps a little rigid.  Fortunately, for those who want Storm’s cape to be a little more flowy, there’s also a much larger, flying cape included.  It’s definitely my preferred piece of the two, and it really sets this Storm apart from the others we’ve gotten.  Storm’s paintwork is pretty solid all around.  All the colors are great matches for what’s seen on the printed page, and I really like the glossy sheen on the black parts of her costume.  This figure probably has some of the best paintwork in the series.  In addition to the extra cape, Storm also includes an extra head (w/ pupils), two electricity pieces, a flight stand, and a clear display stand.

SUNFIRE

stormsunfire2Sunfire here pairs up with Banshee on the whole “left off of the cover” business, meaning he was also left out of the original GSXM boxed set.  Unlike Banshee, this is actually his very first Minimate (and only his fifth action figure in general).  Sunfire’s never been all that prominent, since he quit the team after only an issue, and never really came back, so no real action figure coverage for him.  He’s probably not helped by his costume have the rising sun motif, but there it is.  The figure gets an all-new add-on piece for his weird looking mask.  It does a decent job of trying to make sense of that goofy thing.  Could this be the first time that a Minima’s lack of nose actually makes his costume make more sense?  The rest of the details are rendered via paint, which is all pretty solidly handled.  The white parts could be a little cleaner, and the orange could maybe stand out a bit more, but the line work is really great.  Under his mask is an appropriately angry Shiro Yoshida.  That guy was alway pissed.  For accessories, Sunfire gets an extra hairpiece for an unmasked look, two flame effect pieces for his hands, an orange-tinted flight stand, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ever since missing out on the GSXM set, I’ve been waiting on a good classic Storm, and when this one was announced, I was pretty psyched.  I can’t say I’m disappointed with the final product.  Definitely the best version of the character yet.  And, getting Sunfire after so long is also pretty darn cool.  He’s no one’s favorite character, but he’s an important piece of the team’s history nonetheless, and it’s great to finally have him!

#0819: Giant-Size X-Men #1 Boxed Set

STORM, COLOSSUS, NIGHTCRAWLER, SUNFIRE, BANSHEE, & THUNDERBIRD

MARVEL COLLECTOR EDITIONS (TOY BIZ)

ANADXMenPack1

In the 1960s, when Marvel Comics was on fire with all sorts of new ideas, the X-Men were created. The team was Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Beast, and Angel. While the series was a moderate success, it wasn’t as big as other titles of the time, and so the book eventually became solely a reprint series, before ending entirely. But, as anyone who has so much as thought about a Marvel comic in the last 30 years can tell you, that was far from the end of the X-Men. In 1975, the series was relaunched with Giant-Size X-Men #1, which featured an all-new, all-different cast of characters. This new cast proved far more successful than their predecessors, and the series went on to become one of Marvel’s most popular. In the 1990s, the X-Men were no strangers to toys, but most were based on the contemporary designs. To appease older fans, Toy Biz launched a line of special boxed sets, based on more classic incarnations of teams, including the All-New, All-Different X-Men, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

ANADXMen1

These six figures were released as one of the three sets in the Marvel Collector Editions line. All six are based on their appearances in Giant-Size X-Men #1.

STORM

ANADXMen2Though she’s by far the most well-known of the figures in this set, this was the first time Storm’s original costume had seen plastic form, and only the second sculpt the figure had gotten in the expansive 5-inch scale. The figure stands 5 ¼ inches tall and has 13 points of articulation. Her sculpt is generally pretty good, and certainly much better than the Marvel Girl sculpt from this set’s X-Men #1 companion piece. The head is definitely the nicest piece here, as it captures Cockrum’s take on Storm quite well. The body is decently sculpted, but suffers from a few issues. First off, she seems to lack Storm’s usual imposing stature, which is sadly common with her figures. She’s also got these odd, claw-like hands, which are definitely too big for the rest of her body. To top it all off, she’s nearly impossible to keep standing for very long. I do like the way they’ve handled the cape, though; it’s cloth, but it’s multiple layers, which give it enough weight to keep it from hanging oddly, and it avoids cutting off articulation as well. Her paintwork is pretty much on par with the rest of what Toy Biz was doing at the time. The colors are nice and vibrant, and everything is pretty clean, if perhaps lacking in subtlety. The edge of her collar is missing some yellow in a couple of spots, but other than that, everything looks pretty good.

COLOSSUS

ANADXMen4This marked the third time Toy Biz made a Colossus figure. They had a bit of a Goldilocks thing going on with them, though. The first one was too small, the second one was too big, but this one was juuuuust right. The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. The decision not to give him any wrist movement is a little baffling, especially since he’s got a built-in way to mask the joints, but the rest of the movement is all pretty good. Colossus is probably my favorite sculpt in the set. He’s not saddled with any real pre-posing, and his proportions don’t get too wonky, apart from his hands being maybe a touch on the large side. The details here, especially on the exposed metal parts of his body are really stand-out, and he just looks really sharp. His head has an expression that’s intense, but not so intense as to make him look villainous. The paint on Colossus is pretty sharp too. He’s got no noticeable slop, and the details on his costume really look great. The red and yellow really just pop on this guy.

NIGHTCRAWER

ANADXMen3Nightcrawler received probably the best of the initial figures from Toy Biz’s X-Men line, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t room for improvement, especially since the original had sported odd suction cups on his hand and leg. It was also hard to get him into any of Nightcrawler’s distinctive crouching poses, which was the main thing this figure set to fix. The figure is 5 ¼ inches tall and has 16 points of articulation, as well as a bendable tail. If there’s one major issue with this figure, it’s that he’s just too tall. Nightcrawler should really be noticeably shorter than the rest of the team, but were the figure not crouching, he’d be taller than half the figures in the set. That’s kind of off. Aside from that glaring issue, the sculpt is generally pretty passable, though he’s more of an Excalibur-era Alan Davis-styled Nightcrawler than a GSXM Cockrum-styled one. The general quality of the sculpt is definitely nice, and he has some pretty sharp detailing. The shoulder pads are rather obviously separate pieces, which is frustrating, but not the worst thing. Paint is definitely this figure’s strongest suit, and he’s definitely got the strongest paint in the set. The colors of his costume are nice and bold, and everything is very sharp. What’s really cool is that his costume is all matte finish, while his skin/hair is much glossier, making an instant distinction between the two.

SUNFIRE

ANADXMen5The shortest-lasting (but not shortest-lived) member of the ANAD team was definitely Sunfire, who quit after just one issue. In addition, as he was not new to X-Men the series at the time of Giant-Size X-Men #1, having previously appeared as a “foe,” so he wasn’t even on the cover of that issue. This all ends up making him one of the least-remembered members of this team. Amazingly enough, it wasn’t his first 5-inch figure from Toy Biz (though it was his second of two, so he didn’t get anymore), but it is, to date, the only figure of his classic costume ever made. The figure stands 5 ¼ inches tall and has 16 points of articulation. Sunfire’s sculpt is kind of complicated. There are some really great parts, such as the brilliant texture work on the scaled part of his costume, and a very nice translation of his somewhat goofy-looking mask, but it’s all placed on an almost comically skinny body. Sunfire certainly wasn’t a body-builder, but he wasn’t scrawny either. Then there are his feet, which look to have been sized for the body he should have had, which creates this sort of clown shoe effect. The sculpt isn’t terrible, but it’s also not great either. The paint is good in theory, and decent in practice. The application is pretty solid, and aside from one tiny inaccuracy (having his neckline go all the way up to the mask when it should end just north of the collar bone) it looks pretty good. The only issue is the black wash they’ve used to bring out the details of the scaled parts. It works overall, and is especially good on the arms, but the coverage is inconsistent, and the top of the right leg on my figure is totally missing any painted detail, which sticks out quite a bit.

BANSHEE

ANADXMen7Banshee was the other “not new to the series” character, though he had shown up more than once before. He also stuck with the team a bit longer than Sunfire, and hung around as a supporting character even after leaving the team, which resulted in him being a fair bit more memorable than Sunfire (of course, one of them spent the last decade dead, and it wasn’t Sunfire, so maybe popularity isn’t always a great thing). This was his third figure from Toy Biz, but his first to sport his classic green and yellow, which is definitely my favorite of his looks. The figure stands 5 ¼ inches tall and has 16 points of articulation, just like the last two figures. Like Sunfire, his sculpt is a mix of good and bad. The general build isn’t bad, and he isn’t quite as scrawny as Sunfire. However, he’s fairly pre-posed, and the “wings” limit his posability a bit. Also, I get that his main thing is screaming, but I’m not sure how well it turned out on this head sculpt, where he looks like he’s just sort of opening his mouth kind of wide. I feel like an extra, non-screaming head should kind of be a requirement for all Banshee figures, but none of them have ever done such a thing. Banshee’s paint is pretty decently handled; the costume definitely fairs best, with some nice, subtle airbrushing to help highlight some of the sculpted musculature. The head has a passable paintjob, though I feel the colors end up looking a bit too muted.

THUNDERBIRD

ANADXMen6Now, here’s a short-lived X-Man. See, cuz he died. Get it? Yeah, you get it. Yes, Thunderbird was officially the first X-Man to die in action, just to prove a point. According to writer Chris Claremont, it was actually a toss-up as to whether it would be him or Wolverine who died during the X-Men’s second mission. Thunderbird got the axe because his powers were more non-descript than the others, and also because he was just a tiny bit on the stereotype side of things, but could you imagine how different X-Men would be without Wolverine? Seeing as he was dead for most of the team’s run, this was actually the first Thunderbird figure ever made, though it wouldn’t be the last. The figure is 5 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. His sculpt is actually pretty good, overall. The head has some very nice detail work, and is probably the most realistic looking of all those in the set. The body is less realistic, with some slightly out-there proportions, but it’s not too bad, overall. The right hand is sculpt to hold something; I don’t know what it was supposed to be, since he included no accessories, and I can’t really think of anything Thunderbird would need to hold, but whatever. The paintwork on this figure is quite nicely done. Everything is nice an clean, and I love the slight accenting on the various parts of the costume.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting the other two sets in this line as a kid, I bet you think I got this alongside them, don’t you. Well, you’d be wrong. My dad did have this set, and he even offered to buy me one of my own, at a discounted price, when the now defunct Ageless Heroes Comics was going out of business. I was feeling particularly silly that day and turned the set down, a decision I proceeded to regret for the next 18 years, after the set’s price jumped on the aftermarket. This past November, while attending Philcon, I stopped by the House of Fun, and pulled this set out from underneath several boxes. It was actually less than I would have paid for it back in the day, which made me doubly happy. This is by no means a perfect set, but there are some definite gems within, and I’m happy to have it at last.